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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Harrah's World Series of Poker Goes International

19 September 2007

eries of Poker, which was held in Las Vegas earlier this year, may be history but that doesn't mean the coveted gold bracelets that are awarded to tournament winners have been placed under lock and key until 2008.

For the first time, poker's showcase tournament is going international with the inaugural WSOP Europe set to begin in London, England, Friday, Sept. 6 and continue through September 16.

Unlike the United States spectacle, which is held entirely at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, the European tournament will take place at three casinos operated by London Clubs International: Fifty on St. James Street, The Casino at the Empire on Leicester Square and The Sportsman at Marble Arch.

The European version will be structured into three events, the largest being the Main Event with a buy-in of 10,000 British Pounds. It's a six-day no-limit Texas hold'em tournament spread over the three host casinos.

Depending upon the number of entrants, the prize pool is expected to be 7.5 million British Pounds, of which the winner will take home 1.5 million as well as a WSOP gold bracelet, the first time the coveted prize will be won outside of the United States.

Additional information about WSOP Europe can be accessed at www.worldseriesofpoker.com.

The tournament will have a tough act to follow. Jerry Yang, who won an $8.25 million first prize at the Rio in Las Vegas in July, beat out 6,358 entries from around the world competing for a total prize pool of $59,784,954.

Many well known players made an early exit from the Main Event, including last year's champion, Jamie Gold. One high profile player, albeit not from the world of poker, did stick around for a while. Actor Tobey "Spider Man" Maguire, who plays a pretty mean game, finished in 292nd place and earned $39,445.

The nine participants at this year's final table ranged in age from 22 to 62 and represented five countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa and Russia). None of them were widely recognized outside of poker playing circles, and some, including the winner, did not have long histories of tournament play.

Yang, a 39-year-old psychologist and father of six, has been playing for just two years and earned his WSOP seat by winning a $225 satellite tournament at a casino close to his home in Temecula, California.

Yang was "short-stacked" when Final Table play began. He brought $8.45 million in chips to the table, a total that was surpassed by all but one of his opponents, including two who began play with over $20 million in chips. He knocked the competition off one by one and 16 hours later wore the crown and the coveted gold bracelet.

The winner, who came from humble beginnings in his native Laos, told tournament officials that he would divide 10 percent of his winnings among three charities: The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Feed the Children and Ronald McDonald House.

CASINO NEWS: WMS Gaming, the Waukegan, Illinois-based slot machine developer and manufacturer, has a fun contest running on the company's official Website (www.wmsgaming.com). In celebration of Monopoly Super Money Grab, the first release in WMS Gaming's innovative Transmissive Reels product line, you can enter the Future of Gaming Sweepstakes and play a game for an opportunity to win one of 50 instant-win prizes that'll be given away daily through November 12, 2007. In addition, you'll earn entries for the Grand Prize drawing, a trip for two to Las Vegas, including spending money.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp